Why is there a Hole in your Donut?

Two boys trot down the sidewalk towards me. They are ahead of other kids who are still spilling out of the red brick school house and racing to the playground to play soccer. Little and big are heading home. Blue back pack, red back pack, solemn round cheeks still chubby. Identical jet black hair cuts, no nonsense. Their close cropped fringes completely disregard any Justin Bieber side sweep and all Anime heroes. These brothers have serious hair and serious faces.

Little is maybe seven and big is maybe nine. The eldest boy takes a very quick peek once they pass the school yard to see if anyone is looking and then he takes his little brother’s hand. This tender gesture stops me in my tracks. They hold hands all the way down to Nanaimo street and perhaps all the way home. I have turned and am staring at them, but they don’t take notice. I am invisible. Just a middle-aged mom. Benign. I blend in with the almond trees, the fading hydrangeas in the yards, the parallel parked cars and the Vancouver specials who can’t afford a facelift. images-1

“Hold onto each other, boys, you have some hard times ahead.”

My daughter bounds towards me looking alarmingly hip with her suede boots, skinny jeans and off the shoulder T, revealing a strap. She’s got an anxious new plan for her eleventh birthday, always worried she’ll leave someone out.

“Like, if I invite Z but I don’t invite Q, then -”



Like if I invite – ”

“Okay. Z is really nice and Q is nice too but lik…blowfish! I know. I know. But Q and I don’t really know each other.”

“Well, maybe the deciding factor is: have they ever invited you to their birthday party?”



Our commute to Bowen is long but it does allow for some pretty great conversations. Today my daughter decides to talk about the mistakes I’ve made as a parent and what she will learn from them. “For instance, Mommy, I will never like – ”

“Sorry, but blowfish. Go on.”

“I will never leave my child so alone and without family. And, my kids won’t have to live in three houses.”

I am quiet at the steering wheel. I want her to be honest. Honesty also hurts. I need to come up with a positive statement or she’s going to feel she has to take care of me. Too late. She picks up on this in a second and starts spinning me a fuzzy blanket of words.

“But Mommy I think it was the right choice to get divorced because you and Daddy are so different but you’re still friends and that is great for me and I don’t mind going between all these houses, they’re all really nice, it’s just that I get disorganized and it’s confusing and stressful. And it isn’t your fault no family comes to visit us and my baby sister died and so did Auntie J and Grampa and Grandma. At least we have Grammy and Poppa, though we never get to see them. And Tartuffe is seventeen and he’s going to die soon too. I hate it. I hate it!” And she bursts into tears.

“I think it’s a donut day.” I declare.

She sniffles, “Yeah.”

“Like totally.”


I have a coupon for Cartem’s and though I am on a fitness program, I do indulge in a London Fog cream and Nora gets some sparkly pink glazed circle of wonder. This donut is designed quite especially for those who are feeling like tragic princesses trapped in a world that doesn’t recognize their royalty and they just need a little reminder for a second of who they really are. Donuts do make things better. Thoughts of loneliness and death disappear through that little donut hole. Aha! That’s what it’s for.

Once we get to the ferry terminal the familiar low status sounding friendly male voice says, “All Bowen island passengers, it is now time to return to your vehicles…” Nora says, “You know, they should use Scott’s voice, not that guy’s.”

“Oh yeah, why?”

“Because it’s calming. You kinda know everything is going to be alright.”

Does she have any idea what she just said about her step-dad? That guy she butts heads with half the time?

“Yes, he does have a calming voice, doesn’t he?”

Then she rushes to add:

“Daddy’s voice is great too!”

“Oooh I know! He plays all the powerful guys!”

“And the sweet guys too sometimes, Mom-”

“Oh yes, yes, I know ! Your Dad is magnificently talented, he truly is. And a real softie. I will always love him for being such a great Father.”

She smiles to herself and slips her hand into mine. It’s still just a little sticky from that donut but there’s no way I’m letting go. unknown



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  1. Shelley Janze

    I love this. My daughter is going to be 23. High end athlete, university student, holding two jobs. All away from home. Her grandpa recently died, and she didn’t make the National Bobsleigh team. Our donut-time has morphed into her taking a semester off, and us going to Hawaii for some serious r and r in January.

    Her words have stung over the years, but, more often than not, we are there for each other. Always.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Lucia Frangione

      I love it that you’re going to Hawaii together. And that you are teaching her the importance of recovery. I hope you have a fantastic time, Shelley.

  2. Cheryl

    Okay this one made me cry. In a good way. No need for a donut way. Ox

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